‘Faces of Black Lung II’: NIOSH releases follow-up video

black-lung-test.jpg

Photo: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Washington — Seated on a sofa and struggling to breathe – even with the assistance of oxygen – late Kentucky coal miner Peyton Mitchell, then 42, delivers a testimonial about his battle with black lung disease.

“It just really took a toll on me,” Mitchell says in a video released Jan. 21 by NIOSH. “All the activities I could do outside, I can’t do no more. I’m pretty well on oxygen 24/7 in the house. It’s just humid outside. You just can’t get out and do anything. I just can’t do anything no more.”

Mitchell died of black lung disease in September 2018 at the age of 43. The 20-minute video, Faces of Black Lung II – The Story Continues, was produced in his memory. The video is intended to raise awareness of the growing prevalence of coal workers’ pneumoconiosis – a deadly but preventable condition commonly known as black lung – especially among younger miners. Rates of black lung disease have more than doubled over the past 15 years, according to NIOSH.

A follow-up to the agency’s 2008 video, Faces of Black Lung, the new video also features remarks from former coal miners Mackie Branham Jr., 39, and Ray Bartley, 47.

“Black lung disease kills, and it’s once again on the rise, striking miners at much younger ages than ever before,” Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says in the video. “It used to be that we’d see miners dying from black lung disease in their 60s, long before their time. But now, we see miners dying from black lung in their 40s. Even people that don’t have respiratory symptoms can have black lung. Catching it early can allow you to take steps to keep it from progressing to severe lung disease.”

NIOSH reminds mine workers that free, confidential health screenings are available through the agency’s Coal Workers’ Health Surveillance Program. Miners are eligible to receive a chest X-ray, breathing test and symptom assessment once every five years at a clinic near their mine, Public Health Service Commissioned Corps Cdr. Cara Halldin, who helps lead CWHSP, says in the video. Additional screenings are offered via a NIOSH mobile testing unit.

Branham and Bartley, who along with Mitchell followed a family tradition of working in the mines, offer advice about the importance of early screening and detection.

“Just remember: Take care of yourself,” Branham says. “Because right now, I’ve got two 9-year-olds that I can’t play basketball with. I’ve got a boy I moved into college. I had to stop packing his clothes into his dorm. You can’t do what you used to.”

Adds Bartley: “Do I have any regrets working in the mines? No. I didn’t think I would get sick. My advice if you’re starting up … working in a mine: Stay in good air. Always be safe, work safe.”

DOT Issues CBD Statement

DOT OFFICE OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL POLICY AND COMPLIANCE NOTICE

The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, Pub. L. 115-334, (Farm Bill) removed hemp from the definition of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act.  Under the Farm Bill, hemp-derived products containing a concentration of up to 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are not controlled substances.  THC is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana.  Any product, including “Cannabidiol” (CBD) products, with a concentration of more than 0.3% THC remains classified as marijuana, a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Continue readin

FMCSA final rule delays compliance date for CMV driver minimum training requirements

semis-on-highway.jpg
Photo: vitpho/iStockphoto

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is delaying by two years the compliance date of its final rule on minimum training requirements for entry-level commercial motor vehicle drivers.

According to an interim final rule published in the Feb. 4 Federal Register, the new compliance date is Feb. 7, 2022.

The final rule, initially published in December 2016 and set to go into effect Feb. 7 this year, was the first to establish minimum training standards for first-time applicants for Class A or B commercial drivers’ licenses or those seeking a CDL upgrade to Class A or B. It also set standards for drivers attempting to obtain hazardous materials, passenger or school bus endorsements for the first time.

According to the interim rule, the extension will give FMCSA extra time to develop its Training Provider Registry – a list of certified training providers. Delaying the compliance date also gives state driver licensing agencies time to modify their computer systems and procedures to receive entry-level driver training data.

FMCSA in July initially proposed to delay two provisions of the final rule. However, 40 of the 56 comments received on the proposed rule advocated a full delay.

Petitions to reconsider the delay are due March 5, and comments on the interim final rule must be submitted by March 20.

Employers choose production over safety when business is good, Yale researcher says

shchalkboard.jpg

Photo: marrio31/iStockphoto

New Haven, CT — When demand is high and profits are up, many employers look to increase production rather than invest in safety, a recent study led by a Yale University researcher suggests.

Using data from the U.S. mining industry, the research team found that when the price of the mineral being mined increased 1%, serious injuries and fatalities rose 0.15% and safety and health violations increased 0.13%.

Demand for a product plays a significant role, lead study author Kerwin K. Charles, dean of the School of Management and professor of economics, policy and management at Yale, said in an article published online Jan. 2 in Yale Insights. Many of the safety violations were determined to be willful or negligent, the article notes.

Charles told Yale Insights: When demand is high, “I’ve got money in my pocket. I can buy a fan. I can buy a safer drill press. But here’s a second thing that’s going to happen: I’ll think, I’d better make hay while the sun is shining. When times are good, I should produce more. That means work my workers harder. That means work on the weekends. That safety training? Let’s put it off.”

The researchers also found that, for large conglomerates mining multiple minerals, a boost in revenue for one part of the company can lead to fewer injuries in other parts of the company.

“A mine that doesn’t itself have high demand but is benefiting from high demand at a sister mine, injuries on the job go down,” Charles told Yale Insights. He said that more financial resources, “in isolation,” can boost safety.

The study was published in October in the National Bureau of Economic Research.

New report from NSC shows how existing technologies can help save workers’ lives

Work-to-Zero.jpg

Bonita Springs, FL — With workplace fatalities on the rise in the United States, a new research report from the Work to Zero initiative at the National Safety Council indicates employers “may not be doing enough to protect their workforce.”

According to Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries data released Dec. 17 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 5,250 workers died as a result of on-the-job injuries in 2018 – a 2% increase from 2017 and the highest number of fatalities since 5,657 were recorded in 2007.

The report, “Safety Technology 2020: Mapping Technology Solutions for Reducing Serious Injuries and Fatalities in the Workplace,” reviews the current state of safety technology; provides insights from more than 40 environmental, health and safety professionals; and maps major sources and causal factors of workplace deaths to promising safety technologies.

“The data says it all – while workplace injuries are trending down, workplace fatalities are rising,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said in a Feb. 18 press release. “Hundreds of technologies exist today that have enormous potential to eliminate these preventable deaths. This report is an excellent starting point for employers to understand how new technology can ensure a safer workforce.”

The report looks at 18 various non-roadway, hazardous situations, such as working at height, workplace violence, and repair and maintenance – in which fatal injuries are most likely to occur among workers and provides potential technology solutions for each situation.

The report was presented Feb. 13 during the inaugural Work to Zero Summit.

Cardiac Science recalls all G3 Elite AEDs

product-recall.jpg
Photo Aquir/iStockphoto

Deerfield, WI — Cardiac Science Corp. has issued a voluntary recall of its G3 Elite AEDs because a “software anomaly” may cause the devices’ status indicator to malfunction.

In a Jan. 21 notice to customers, the company states that it has received reports of the Rescue Ready status indicator displaying red and the service LED illuminating because of the software issue. The anomaly is associated with the devices’ daylight saving time feature.

“If the device is configured with the DST enabled, it will experience error code ‘0x99’ after daylight saving (time),” the notice states. “In this state, the device must be returned to Cardiac Science to clear the error, but it can be used clinically if an emergency arises.”

The company encourages customers with affected G3 Elite AEDs to immediately:

  • Locate the affected devices.
  • Remove the device from service if it has failed its self-test.
  • Alert all G3 Elite users of the problem.
  • Contact the Cardiac Science technical support team at (262) 953-3500 or (800) 426-0337, or a local representative, to schedule an update – regardless of self-test status.

Cardiac Science is revising the software to prevent the issue from occurring in the future and will make the update available free of charge, the notice states.

OSHA final rule corrects errors in 27 standards and regulations

Washington — OSHA has issued technical corrections and amendments to 27 standards and regulations to address “minor misprints, omissions, outdated references, and tabular and graphic inaccuracies.”

According to a final rule published in the Feb. 18 Federal Register, the corrections are to 29 CFR 1904 (recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses), 1910 (general industry), 1915 and 1918 (maritime), and 1926 (construction).

None of the revisions expands employer obligations or imposes new costs, a Feb. 14 press release from OSHA states.

The changes are effective immediately.

OSHA celebrates 50th anniversary of OSH Act

nixon-signs.png
President Richard Nixon signs the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

Washington — To mark the 50th anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA has launched a webpage highlighting the agency’s work over the decades.

On Dec. 29, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the legislation and paved the way for OSHA’s creation. In that time, workplace fatalities have decreased to about 14 a day in 2018 from around 38 a day in 1970, and the annual injury and illness rate among private-industry employees declined to 2.8 per 100 workers in 2018 from 10.9 in 1972.

“OSHA has helped transform America’s workplaces by dramatically reducing workplace fatalities and significantly decreasing the worker injury rate,” acting administrator Loren Sweatt says in a video posted on the webpage. “Even with these dramatic improvements to worker safety, our work is not done. As we celebrate 50 years of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, I hope you will join us in making a renewed commitment to keeping workers safe and healthy. It’s every worker’s right.”

The agency is expected to announce upcoming events honoring the anniversary.

2020 UCR Registration Will Open Feb. 13

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced that fees for the 2020 UCR registration year will be published in the Federal Register on Thursday, February 13. Upon publication, the fees will become effective and the 2020 registration period will officially open. FMCSA previously announced on its website the specific fee levels for 2020.

Businesses subject to the UCR Act may register at  www.ucr.gov

Since the opening of the 2020 registration period was delayed several months, UCR is requesting that states delay enforcement until June 1, 2020.